Skip to main content

Full text of "History And Human Relation"

See other formats


OFFICIAL  HISTORY:
ITS PITFALLS AND   CRITERIA

MUCH has been said about contemporary history *
from the point of view of the expert, but the
issues that are raised belong to a court of wider jurisdic-
tion, A word on this subject will perhaps be allowed,
therefore, to the student of historiography wiio tries to
see titfe experts themselves in their due relationship with
everything else. The experts have a great advantage
in the nature of things, and when they have the peculiar
position of being " official" historians (or even " offi-
cially-favoured " historians) so that they can say " We
have seen the evidence and you have not; besides, our
ways are hidden ways "—in such conditions they might
well feel themselves out of reach of criticism. I, for my
part, can only cross-examine the experts and analyse the
situation itself from the point of view of a general
historian who exercises the prerogatives of a critic in
respect of a field or a period not his own. I do indeed
have one qualification for speaking on contemporary
history -which, without betraying any secrets^ I can say

'   .        .                         '         •        182                                           ,       •;•